A night out that ended in horror

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 October, 2002, 12:00am

Hong Kong holidaymakers have described the horrifying scenes when the explosion ripped through the Bali nightclub - and the panic that ensued as survivors desperately tried to escape the carnage.

Philip Currie had arrived on the island with his fiancee ahead of their wedding later this week and was in the Sari Club when the bombs went off. He described the scene as utter panic.

'We heard one explosion that knocked us off our chairs and we were on the floor . . . the second explosion came a second later and the roof just collapsed on us and the whole place went up in flames,' he said.

'It was terrible . . . it was dark and we were lucky we were in the back - one of the furthest points from the explosion. People were climbing over the walls trying to get out but the walls had given way and lots of people got injured simply trying to escape. It was just panic.'

Mr Currie suffered injuries to his eardrums and his fiancee has a suspected broken ankle, but both were initially unable to get treatment as local hospitals were inundated with the dead and severely injured.

Anson Bailey, a member of the Pot-bellied Pigs, a Hong Kong rugby team, said the players had just finished dinner at a nearby restaurant and were heading to the nightclub.

'We were just 300 metres away from the nightclub when there was a small explosion followed by a large explosion,' he recalled. 'We were all scared as people started running away from the nightclub.

'We saw other rugby players coming our way, some covered in blood, and we immediately took them to the hospital for treatment, but the facility there was overstretched.'

Mr Bailey said he was initially worried after several of his teammates could not be located, although they were all later accounted for.

Another SAR holidaymaker, Cheung Siu-man, escaped with cuts and bruises to his foot despite being close to both explosions. 'The bomb exploded 150 metres from me and my girlfriend and then a couple of seconds later, another bomb exploded only 10 metres from me.

'The noise of it was much louder as it was closer than the first one,' he said after arriving back in Hong Kong yesterday afternoon.

'The heat was so intense . . . we just turned and ran as there was complete chaos, just like September 11, as everyone tried to get away, some in their cars others on foot. It was like a real-life movie.'

Another returning holidaymaker said he was in his hotel room, about 500 metres away from the blast. 'There were a few big bomb sounds and after that all the windows at the hotels nearby were smashed.'

In Hong Kong, relatives and friends of the holidaymakers faced an anxious wait for information.

One man who called the South China Morning Post said: 'I want to know if the government here will arrange a plane to take our lads out of Bali, like the Australian government.'